Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Thermite, Meet Superthermite

One of the problems with the controlled demolition hypothesis is the fact that, well to be "controlled" in any manner after a plane crashed into the building you want to demolish, is a bit difficult. Massive fires of course would set off detonators and charges, burn up det cord, mess with any type of controls and cause general mayhem. Steven Jones has dealt with this question in the past by arguing that the conspirators used thermite, which is not actually used for demolitions, but for argument's sake we will assume that it is, and that it has a high ignition point.

It is important to note that initiating the thermite reaction requires temperatures well above those achieved by burning jet fuel or office materials -- which is an advantage of using thermite charges over conventional monomolecular explosives such as TNT, RDX and PETN. Below is a photograph of an experiment performed by the author and colleagues at BYU in which a sample of thermite was heated to orange-hot temperature (about 1700 oF). We demonstrated that the thermite reaction would not ignite at this high temperature. Later, the thermite reaction was triggered by burning a magnesium strip in contact with the thermite. An electrical superthermite "match" could have been used and remotely triggered via radio signal.

Well this still doesn't adress all the rest of the problems with a plane crash and massive fires in the middle of your controlled demolition, but now he has lost even this point, with his own paper ironically. From his new uber-super-nano-magic-thermite paper:

As measured using DSC, the material ignites and reacts vigorously at a temperature of approximately 430 °C, with a rather narrow exotherm, matching fairly closely an independent observation on a knownsuper-thermite sample. The low temperature of ignition and the presence of iron oxide grains less than 120 nm show that the material is not conventional thermite (which ignites at temperatures above 900 °C) but very likely a form of super-thermite.

Of course this is well within the range of a normal office fire. Well, good luck next time.